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Open-door office policy for children

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Readers tell how they balance a job and family when they work out of the house:

Red light, green light

As long as my office door is open, my two kids —15 months and 3 years — are allowed to come see me at any time. But if the door is closed, that's my signal that I'm on the phone or trying to concentrate. And if a client stops by for a meeting, the kids can come in to say hello, but then they must return to the family room or playroom. — Lilly Dollenmayer, Thousand Oaks, Calif.


I run a business from home with my husband, and we have a rule: If we're attending to one of our children's needs, we let the answering machine pick up our phone calls, and we finish any paperwork later. We can always catch up on work when the kids, ages 5 and 2, are playing or sleeping, but we can't get back more time with them. — Melody Munoz, Pharr, Texas

Regular checkups

My 18-month-old stays up on the main floor of the house with her sitter while I work downstairs. My office isn't off-limits, but to minimize interruptions, I try to spend time with her when it's convenient for me. That way, she gets enough "Mommy time" and doesn't feel the need to come to my office. — Donna Corrado, Newburgh, N.Y.

This article first appeared in Parenting / Family Life magazine.